Tag Archives: groups

Anti-Car Groups Call for a Ban on SUVs, Protest at Frankfurt Auto Show

Anti-Car Groups Call for a Ban on SUVs, Protest at Frankfurt Auto ShowEnough! No one needs to drive luxury cars! say German protesters standing on top of SUVs at the Frankfurt auto show.



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Police make arrests as right-wing, anti-fascist groups rally in Portland

Police make arrests as right-wing, anti-fascist groups rally in PortlandA rally by hundreds of supporters of the right-wing Proud Boys organization was met by a similar number of “antifa” opponents, and isolated clashes broke out between both sides and between antifa and police as the gathering wrapped up. At the peak of the demonstrations there were an estimated 1,200 protesters on the streets of the downtown district, said Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. Charges against those in custody would include disorderly conduct, interfering with police, resisting arrest, and unlawful use of a weapon, she said at a news conference.



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Portland police keeping far-right protesters, antifa groups apart; violence avoided during rallies

Portland police keeping far-right protesters, antifa groups apart; violence avoided during ralliesA heavy police presence kept members of the Proud Boys and other far-right groups separated from far-left activists at a downtown park Saturday.



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ICE raids in Mississippi prompt Chicago-area groups to take action

ICE raids in Mississippi prompt Chicago-area groups to take actionU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took about 680 people into custody Wednesday following workplace raids at chicken processing plants across Mississippi.



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APNewsBreak: Gun safety groups to host presidential forum

APNewsBreak: Gun safety groups to host presidential forumTwo prominent gun safety organizations said Thursday that they will host a forum for Democratic presidential candidates in Las Vegas on Oct. 2, the day after the city marks the second anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The Giffords group and March For Our Lives told The Associated Press that the forum focused on gun violence will be the first of its kind for presidential hopefuls and will be open to all candidates who meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling and fundraising thresholds for the September debate. Guns are a complex issue in Nevada, an early voting state that will be the third in the U.S. to weigh in on the 2020 Democratic field.



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Far-Right Groups Embrace ‘Straight Pride Parades’ to Win Recruits, Media Attention

Far-Right Groups Embrace ‘Straight Pride Parades’ to Win Recruits, Media AttentionAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/ReutersFar-right groups looking to put a friendlier face on their politics are increasingly organizing so-called “Straight Pride Parades” in an attempt to both garner media attention and new recruits. The “Straight Pride” trend kicked off in Boston last month, when a group calling itself Super Happy Fun America announced plans for a Straight Pride Parade at the end of August. News reports and Twitter chatter focused on the novelty and strangeness of a parade celebrating “straight pride,” imagining a group of particularly aggrieved heterosexual men in cargo shorts. Much of that coverage missed the fact that Super Happy Fun America’s goals aren’t so innocent—its lead organizer has been involved in far-right group Resist Marxism, and praised a Chilean dictator for executing liberals. Rather than representing any sort of “straight pride,” the Boston Straight Pride parade turned out to be just another attempt at right-wing trolling. Now another set of far-right activists thousands of miles away are trying the same tactic. An explicitly anti-gay group calling itself the “National Straight Pride Coalition” announced plans this week for a Straight Pride Parade in Modesto, CA on August 24 to defend “Western Civilization.” While the Boston Straight Pride Parade at least pretended  not to be an attack on gay rights, with openly gay anti-Muslim activist Milo Yiannopoulos as its grand marshal, the Modesto event is clearly a vehicle for racial and homophobic hate. On its website, the group describes homosexuality as “evil,” and adds that it was created in part to defend “whiteness.”  Still, participants in the Modesto parade were quick to paint criticism of the event as an attack on straight people. The event permit request describes it as merely a “cultural celebration event.” “The moment you have a straight pride parade, everyone goes crazy,” said Ryan Schambers, who describes himself as a member of the National Straight Pride Coalition. Mark Ricci, the head of Modesto Progressive Democrats, said the Straight Pride Parade is just a cover for organizers’ extremist politics.“It’s like a front for what their real intentions are,” said Ricci, whose group plans to participate in a counterprotest to the Modesto event. The Modesto Straight Pride event hasn’t received a permit yet. Thomas Reeves, a spokesman for the city of Modesto, said the permitting process should be settled by the end of the week. “The city of Modesto cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values, the content of speeches, or the views of speakers,” Reeves said in a statement. “The approval of the permit would not be an endorsement or sponsorship of any particular message by the city, but a recognition of the free speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment.” The National Straight Pride Coalition is the creation of Don J. Grundmann, a longtime anti-gay activist and perennial failed Senate candidate in California. Grundmann said presenting his event as a “Straight Pride Parade” has earned it more attention that it would have received if he had billed it as another right-wing rally.“It can be publicity, naturally,” Grundmann said. “Straight pride—it shouldn’t be a term which is controversial.” Super Happy Fun America did not respond to a request for comment on the Modesto event.  But Grundmann said his group doesn’t have anything to do with the Boston Straight Pride march, and criticized their comparative openness to gay rights, which he described as “completely opposite from what we would do.” Grundmann then proceeded to go on an anti-Semitic rant about a secretive, wealthy cabal controlling world events, down to the counterprotest to his own event. Asked if he was attacking Jewish people, Grundmann said, “you can figure it out.”The Straight Pride Parade in Modesto has already attracted support from at least one local Republican official. Schambers is listed as a member of the local Stanislaus County GOP’s central committee leadership on its website, although he insists he’s no longer a county Republican official. The Stanislaus County GOP didn’t respond to a request for comment.Schambers’ involvement in the parade was first noted by a left-wing “digital community center” called It’s Going Down. In an interview with The Daily Beast, he vaguely criticized the anti-gay language on the National Straight Pride Coalition, but then said he’s participating in the event in part because he thinks it’d “probably be better” if gay people were instead straight.  Ricci  said Modestans aren’t fooled by Grundmann posing as a support of “straight rights” and pointed out that Grundmann is a resident of the Bay Area—nearly 100 miles away from the planned site of the Straight Pride Parade. “We’re just deeply disappointed that there are people out there who continue to use this thinly veiled hate speech under the guise of equality,” Ricci said. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Marches by rival groups lead to clashes; 3 people arrested

Marches by rival groups lead to clashes; 3 people arrestedCompeting demonstrations spilled into the streets of downtown Portland on Saturday, with fights breaking out in places as marchers clashed. At least three groups had planned rallies or demonstrations at different sites in the city, including members of the so-called Proud Boys and anti-fascist groups that include “antifa,” and the fights occurred when participants of the opposing groups met, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive . In a statement Saturday night, the Portland Police Bureau said three people were arrested on assault and harassment charges in connection with the protests.



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How armed vigilante groups are detaining migrants on US-Mexico border

How armed vigilante groups are detaining migrants on US-Mexico borderThe camera panned across dozens of faces, exhausted migrants crouched in the New Mexico night, fenced in by armed civilians. The woman filming issued a stern warning."Don't aim the gun," she called out to a member of the group off-screen, before she commented about how many children were in the group being "detained". The 16 April video of armed civilians holding migrants tore across social media and news outlets amid concerns by the American Civil Liberties Union that the actions of the United Constitutional Patriots amounted to armed kidnapping and coercion. The video and the stories that followed prompted stern denunciation from the state's governor and rights groups.The elements of that video and others are fuelling inquiry over the legal grey areas in which self-described militias can operate.That activity has placed armed civilians within feet of federal immigration agents at night in wild shrub land, with migrants caught in the middle, confused about who has actual authority on the border and what their rights are on US soil.[gallery-0] "Menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease," New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said after the ACLU brought the video to light, calling the group's activities "completely unacceptable".The men in these videos wear military-style uniforms, surround migrants with rifles and issue commands to stop and sit. One member can be seen walking in front of the camera with an AR-15 rifle.In at least one video that has since been restricted, the group yells "Policia, alto!" – Police, stop! – at migrants, BuzzFeed News reported. In another, "a member of the militia is heard yelling in Spanish, 'Pistola, pistola' – gun, gun – at a group of people moments after they crossed the border at night," Buzzfeed wrote.Photos show the men wearing police-style star badges.In the April 16 video, Customs and Border Protection agents arrive and collect migrants but do not ask the group with guns to disperse or take their weapons elsewhere."Border Patrol has never asked us to stand down," Jim Benvie, a group spokesman, told the New York Times in a story published on 18 April.Benvie did not reply to multiple requests for an interview for this story, but he has been active on Facebook, and described his group's motivation for their actions in two videos on Tuesday night."We are simply there because President [Donald] Trump declared a national emergency on the border we came down to find out what that emergency is," Benvie says. "We are sitting here right now and we're doing what we need to do."Experts say the legal world these groups exist in is murky. What is the status of this group? Is it a militia? Is its actions protected by the constitution, or does the conduct rise to the level of kidnapping or impersonating law enforcement?"Militia is a term used in a rather fluid manner," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. "It's loosely defined as an armed group engaged in some paramilitary operation."The Supreme Court has ruled it is an individual right to bear arms, Turley said, and if the members lawfully assemble without trespassing, they can exist in the ways neighbourhood patrols do – albeit armed with AR-15 rifles."In some ways these groups are George Zimmerman on steroids," Turley said, referring to the man who followed and killed Trayvon Martin and was exonerated on Florida's stand-your-ground, self-defence law.According to the group's Facebook page, its objective is to "uphold the Constitution of the United States of America" and to protect citizens' rights "against all enemies both foreign and domestic" – phrasing that mimics the oath taken by US service members.Dave Kopel, an adjunct professor constitutional law at Denver University, explained that in the American Revolution, militias were auxiliary forces that supplemented Continental troops across swaths of territory where an army presence was not always possible. Militias were crucial in raids and harassment campaigns against British soldiers.Now, organised militias are National Guard units and some state guard groups, he said. All able-bodied men between 17 and 45 years old are members of an organised militia subject to mobilisation, according to US law.The difference between those groups and the organisation at the border, Kopel explained, is a matter of oversight. Governors command National Guard troops. Presidents can activate them for federal service.It is legal to carry firearms openly in New Mexico, and there is not a law banning the use of military-style uniforms, although Turley said some behaviour could catch the eye of prosecutors.Most attorneys rely on explicit statements of misrepresenting oneself as law enforcement, but wearing police-style badges may get group members "dangerously close to the line of impersonating an officer."The group has sought to distance itself from the appearance of coercion, with Benvie calling their activities "a verbal citizen's arrest" and suggesting that their activity is not actual detainment."We can't make them stay if they don't want to," Benvie told the New York Times.Still, Turley said, confusion may reign on the border when militiamen emerge from the dark with weapons drawn. "It's very likely they view these militia members to be law enforcement," he said.Benvie told the paper the members were instructed not to point weapons and that military-style rifles were no longer permitted on patrols, though handguns were permissible. The 16 April video shows rifles in the hands of group members.New Mexico has no statute on citizen's arrest, Alan Malott, a since-retired judge of the 2nd Judicial District Court in New Mexico, wrote in 2011, saying people can arrest private citizens who they believe "committed a felony-level crime or a breach of the peace in his presence".In a statement on Twitter, CBP said it "does not endorse or condone private groups or organisations taking enforcement matters into their own hands. Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved." It followed that tweet with phone numbers to call "if a member of the community witnesses or suspects illegal activity".Carlos Diaz, CBP spokesman, declined to comment on what was shown in the videos, which appear to have shown armed civilians alongside Border Patrol agents.Benvie did not respond to multiple requests for an interview, but he has shared several videos on his Facebook page over the past week, explaining the group's actions and their motivations."We have repeated time and time and time again this is not a militia," Benvie said onTuesday. "This is not an armed vigilante group. This is not the KKK. This is not a terrorist organisation."If we did anything wrong, if there had ever been anything wrong, not only would those videos have not been done live but the Border Patrol would have immediately acted," Benvie said. "They don't want civilians to enforce the law.""However," he continues, "if you read the second part of their statement they do encourage citizens to observe and report illegal activity relating to immigration, and they do welcome that they they've even posted the phone number, OK? So the point I'm trying to tell you is, is that 'observing and reporting' more or less is what we've been doing."The United Constitutional Patriots' leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, appeared in court Monday on charges from 2017 of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The FBI also contends his group was training for assassinations against liberal politicians and donors.Hopkins, who goes by the pseudonym Johnny Horton and is referred to within the group as "Striker," was arrested and accused of impersonating a law enforcement officer in 2006."This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families," Hector Balderas, the state attorney general, said in a statement after Hopkins's arrest. Balderas said the arrest "indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not vigilantes."A letter sent by the New Mexico chapter of the ACLU asked Balderas to investigate the group. "We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum," it said.Benvie has said his group was welcomed by local law enforcement and said police were "happy we were there." However, the group's outpost in New Mexico was abandoned amid pressure from law enforcement, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.Sunland Police Chief Javier Guerra said it would take action if group members pointed weapons at migrants."We can arrest them for assault," Guerra said, AP reported.But in the 16 April video, the woman narrating the incident sought more a more influential audience."Donald Trump needs to see this," she said.Washington Post



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Dem Groups Want to Make Kirstjen Nielsen a Post-Trump Pariah

Dem Groups Want to Make Kirstjen Nielsen a Post-Trump PariahAlex WongHomeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may have been pushed out of her job by the president over the weekend. But a coalition of progressive groups now want to ensure that she finds no comfy landing in her career after Trump. The groups are readying a plan to shame any major news networks or large corporation that hires the soon-to-be former DHS Secretary, contending that her involvement in the Trump administration’s family separation policy inherently disqualifies her from a plum gig in the private sector. “If a corporation or university or speaking agency is going to bring her on board, there will be a significant reputational risk associated with that decision,” Karl Frisch, a spokesperson for the liberal advocacy group Restore Public Trust told The Daily Beast. “Ultimately her great moral failing irreparably harmed and traumatized thousands of families seeking help in the United States. She facilitated that, she helped plan it, she helped execute it and she defended it.” The decision to go after Nielsen—as well as other administration officials—even after her tenure has ended shows not only how detested a figure she became among progressives, but also the degree to which political advocacy now includes campaigns to influence private sector behavior. Nielsen knows this all too well. In June 2018, she was jeered by protesters as she ate at a Washington, D.C.-based Mexican restaurant.Prior to Nielsen’s resignation, Restore Public Trust and nearly 40 immigration and progressive advocacy groups had formed a coalition to implore corporate leaders to avoid hiring a slew of Trump officials involved in implementing the family separation policy including Nielsen, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Over the weekend, the group sent a letter to Fortune 500 CEOs listing all the names of the individuals they hoped would be blacklisted from hiring. That was followed by an ad bearing a similar message in The New York Times on Sunday, featuring a red Make America Great Again hat with the words “Put Kids In Cages.”“Any senior administration official who leaves and thinks that they can cash in after being a part of this horrific policy has another thing coming in,” Frisch said. “We are sounding the alarm now.” The coalition hopes that by drawing continued attention to the family separation policy and those who helped implement it, they can mobilize employees of corporations and potentially major news networks to refuse to hire those individuals most closely associated with the policy.It’s a strategy born from the realization that even those government officials associated with deeply controversial policies often get plum gigs once they enter the private sector. It’s also an idea that is built on some past successes. Last summer, employees of Salesforce wrote a letter to the company’s CEO Marc Benioff urging him to reconsider company ties with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He declined to do so but said that their technology was not being used for family separation. There was a similar outcry when Sarah Isgur, the former top communications aide for Sessions, was hired as a politics editor at CNN. That led to assurances from the network that she would have no involvement in actual politics coverage, town halls with Democratic presidential candidates, or the debate CNN is hosting this summer. Isgur ultimately said that she would be taking a role as political analyst instead. Media monitors like Sleeping Giants, who led campaigns against advertisers on Tucker Carlson’s primetime Fox News show, are also keeping a close watch on Nielsen’s possible media bookings or potential signings as a contributor. The organization told The Daily Beast that they will observe the unfolding situation and develop an official plan should more news develop. And American Oversight, a progressive investigative organization, said it would continue its research into Nielsen’s role in the president’s family separation policy even though she was no longer part of the administration. While some groups will remain focused on Nielsen even as she leaves the public sector, other organizations said their efforts will shift to the remainder of DHS and the nominee to replace her. An official with CREDO, a mobile advocacy group, said it was poised to launch an aggressive pushback on the person chosen to fill Nielsen’s role, should the president choose someone from the list of names he’s rumored to be considering. “The names being floated so far are troubling — the next person to take this job needs to unequivocally denounce Trump's family separation policy,” Josh Nelson, co-director of CREDO told The Daily Beast. That has also been an early stipulation of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, many of whom had called for Nielsen’s resignation before this weekend. “I will not support a nominee who does not forcefully and unequivocally denounce this administration’s policy of separating families at the border,” Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said on Monday. “The next Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security must be committed to reuniting families and protecting the human rights of those seeking asylum. Cruelty is not a substitute for a smart, lawful, and humane immigration policy. The American people deserve better.”Read more at The Daily Beast.



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Venezuela: Maduro calls on armed groups to keep order amid electricity rationing

Venezuela: Maduro calls on armed groups to keep order amid electricity rationingPresident announces 30-day rationing plan and says pro-government
colectivos must ‘defend the peace of every block’ Nicolás Maduro said: ‘We are facing a group of monsters who want to destroy Venezuela.’ Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro has called on armed pro-government groups to help subdue unrest as he announced a 30-day electricity rationing plan set to inflict further pain on the population. In a televised address, Maduro said he had no choice but to take drastic measures while his government rebuilt key sections of Venezuela’s national grid following a succession of crippling power failures since 7 March. Experts and Maduro’s political opponents say the repeated collapse of Venezuela’s electricity system – which has left millions without light or water – is a consequence of years of neglect, corruption and incompetence. But in his late-night appearance Maduro repeated the Socialist party line that Venezuela had suffered a series of “brutish attacks” masterminded by his political opponents and their supporters in the White House. “We are facing a group of monsters who want to destroy Venezuela,” Maduro said, claiming their aim was to topple his government by “making the people and the country go mad”. Amid growing fears that Venezuela’s crisis could be moving into a violent new phase, Maduro instructed “revolutionary and patriotic” government supporters and armed pro-government gangs known as
colectivos to mobilize “to defend the peace of every
barrio, of every block”. “They will not take away our peace,” Maduro vowed. Last week Maduro’s second-in-command, Diosdado Cabello, appeared in a menacing video flanked by dozens of masked men and women who he referred to as “peace defenders” but who many fear have been tasked with violently repressing dissent. There were signs on Sunday that such groups had begun responding to the government’s calls. As further blackouts struck Venezuela and citizens took to the streets to protest, photographs and videos circulated appearing to show armed men confronting demonstrators in the capital, Caracas. Two protesters were reported to have been shot after burning blockades were set up in streets near the presidential palace. “We’re here fighting for water and power, we’ve gone twenty-some days without water,” Yofre Gamez, 32, told Reuters as shots rang out. In the western state of Zulia, perhaps the worst affected by the electricity crisis, opposition leaders claimed a 70-year-old woman had been shot dead by members of one
colectivo during a protest. Footage also circulated on social media that appeared to show paramilitaries and police special forces searching a housing estate for protesters in Barquisimeto, Venezuela’s fourth largest city. Maduro’s challenger, Juan Guaidó, claimed such paramilitary groups were trying – but failing – to suppress popular opposition to Hugo Chávez’s successor, who has led Venezuela into economic crisis. “We must stay strong and stay in the streets,” tweeted Guaidó, who most western governments have recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. The Venezuelan human rights group Provea said Maduro’s so-called “peace squads” were actually paramilitary gangs tasked with spreading violence and shooting protesters. “Maduro’s peace means violence against the people,” Provea said. As Venezuelans braced for weeks of hardship and uncertainty, Maduro urged them to have faith in his government – and in God. “God must accompany us with his blessings in this, the most difficult of battles that we must face,” Maduro said, before being applauded by senior political and military leaders.



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